WARREN, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Have you ever been inside a restaurant and you’ve looked through the menu and you just can’t find anything you’d like to order? If you’re vegan, that probably happens a lot.
People who practice a vegan lifestyle enjoy eating out as much as anyone else. However, in places such as Warren County, it’s hard to find restaurants that have vegan menu items. Don and Kate Reed, of Warren, have tried.
“A lot of places just don’t even have an option. They’re all strictly meat-based or cheese and it’s very difficult sometimes to find an option,” says Don.
Don and Kate decided to use social media to reach out to other vegans in the Warren area to find out if they would be interested in getting together once a month to eat the foods they prefer. The Warren Vegan Dinner Group was formed.
“We’ve talked about it for several years to try to put together a formal group and last fall we just kind of decided to go for it and it kind of mushroomed,” says Don.
It’s not only a social group. It’s also an educational group. The Reeds have been talking to the owners of Warren area restaurants in an effort to convince them that there is a demand for vegan menu items. Some meat and fish restaurants have agreed to host the dinner group. And guess what? The restaurants came up with some delicious and creative vegan dishes.
“The ones that have prepared food for us so far have done a fantastic job,” says Kate. “Everyone has fallen in love with it and we’re all hoping some of the places will put that food on their regular menu.”
This month’s dinner get-together was hosted by the Bent Run Brewing Company in Warren. It was a night that the restaurant is usually closed. Bent Run’s menu offers nothing that comes close to vegan….except on that night.
Denise Caudill, the owner of Bent Run Brewing Company, welcomed the group last Wednesday.
“Since we were not open for business we can plan that type of menu because it’s not something we carry all the time. But for a central group we can make it on a different scale,” she said.
Spencer Erickson is the chef at Bent Run Brewing Company. He welcomed the challenge of preparing a different kind of menu.
“I’ve done a lot of catering so I was used to doing a lot of different menus where I worked before. But it was a challenge because it was a lot different than normal coming up with different food,” he said.
About 30 of the group’s 50 members attended. They loved the Tofu Summer Rolls, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, and the entre, Vegan Tikka Masala. The group hopes to come back and enjoy those items again.
The next meeting of the Warren Vegan Dinner Group will be February 22 at Mama Jane’s Eatery in Warren. For more information contact the Reeds at this email address – email@example.com